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Nahash

NAHASH

na'-hash (nachash, "serpent"; Naas):

(1) The father of Abigail and Zeruiah, the sisters of David (2 Samuel 17:25; compare 1 Chronicles 2:16). The text in 2 S, where this reference is made, is hopelessly corrupt; for that reason there are various explanations. The rabbis maintain that Nahash is another name for Jesse, David's father. Others think that Nahash was the name of Jesse's wife; but it is not probable that Nahash could have been the name of a woman. Others explain the passage by making Nahash the first husband of Jesse's wife, so that Abigail and Zeruiah were half-sisters to King David.

(2) A king of Ammon, who, at the very beginning of Saul's reign, attacked Jabesh-gilead so successfully, that the inhabitants sued for peace at almost any cost, for they were willing to pay tribute and serve the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11:1). The harsh king, not satisfied with tribute and slavery, demanded in addition that the right eye of every man should be put out, as "a reproach upon Israel." They were given seven days to comply with these cruel terms. Before the expiration of this time, Saul, the newly anointed king, appeared on the scene with an army which utterly routed the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11:1), and, according to Josephus, killed King Nahash (Ant., VI, v, 3).

If the Nahash of 2 Samuel 10:2 be the same as the king mentioned in 1 Samuel 11, this statement of Josephus cannot be true, for he lived till the early part of David's reign, 40 or more years later. It is, of course, possible that Nahash, the father of Hanun, was a son or grandson of the king defeated at Jabesh-gilead by Saul. There is but little agreement among commentators in regard to this matter. Some writers go so far as to claim that "all passages in which this name (Nahash) is found refer to the same individual."

(3) A resident of Rabbath-ammon, the capital of Ammon (2 Samuel 17:27). Perhaps the same as Nahash (2), which see. His son Shobi, with other trans-Jordanic chieftains, welcomed David at Mahanaim with sympathy and substantial gifts when the old king was fleeing before his rebel son Absalom. Some believe that Shobi was a brother of Hanun, king of Ammon (2 Samuel 10:1).

W. W. Davies


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'NAHASH'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.